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Viral Diaries

"We may be spending way too much time in actual meetings": Marzdi Kalianiwala

In this interview for our Viral Diaries series the head of business intelligence and marketing of BookMyShow stresses on the importance of self-disciplining.

If there’s one piece of advice that you could give to people in the media/marketing business right now, what would that be?

The current global health crisis has made being socially distant the order of the day, as we all find ways to fit in this new normal. It is more important now, than ever, to find ways to contribute to your business directly, or indirectly, and for that, finding the scope to innovate to work effectively is critical.

Second, upskilling ourselves to be able to manage new formats of work, and manage time and schedules is key. A proactive approach to understanding the nuances of business in the current situation will help, in being able to contribute to it effectively, both from a brand and consumer perspective.

Finally, we believe, there will be a large influx of people in the senior demographic, who will begin consuming digital content on a significantly larger scale, as compared to earlier. Hence, the absolute reach of digital marketing will dramatically increase, making it even more important to the marketing mix once normalcy returns.

Which app/tool are you using for video conferencing with your team/clients? And, what’s your go-to option for sharing files?

We use a mix of Google Hangouts and/or Zoom video conferencing for meetings with the teams and/or clients. Since we have enabled VPN, internet connections and laptop access to all our employees, the mode for transfer of files hasn’t changed. We use the usual tools for sharing documents and files - Microsoft, Google Drive, WeTransfer, and so on.

What is your work day like these days? How do you manage your time, and what is your work from home routine like?

I try to have a reasonable daily schedule, as much as possible. A large part of the day goes in reviewing calls with various teams within the company. But, aside from that, given the spillover free time, it’s important that we utilise that as effectively as possible. I try and catch up on reading, some educational videos, 45-60 minutes of exercise is once again very important, and, of course, connecting with friends and family over calls and video chats.

What do you miss most about office?

The biggest thing we all miss is, of course, the various in-person interactions with our co-workers. The buzz we get when we walk through a packed office, with different folks working on multiple aspects of the business. This new normal of working from the confines of our homes requires adapting (to). Working in isolation can get tiring and discouraging, so, it is important to constantly keep yourself motivated to get work done efficiently. The difference in environment that an office space provides, versus that of home, means that self-disciplining is an absolute must, and should be inculcated in the work routine.

Ideally, how frequently should a team leader/manager check in on her/his team? Any long distance people management tips?

The pandemic has resulted in several countries imposing a national lockdown and lay emphasis on social distancing in a bid to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread. While we are currently looking at a three-week lockdown period in India, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long this situation will last. In light of this, it may be prudent for team leaders and/or managers to implement a daily check-in schedule. This need not be too lengthy, but a crisp 15-minute session to establish the work flow for the day, set goals/targets, address any clarifications. It will help in extracting the most out of this set-up...

Last, what’s the one thing you see yourself doing differently once the work from home phase ends? To rephrase, what’s the biggest lesson here, for you?

I guess the biggest revelation of the work from home phase is that we may be spending way too much time in actual meetings, than required. A lot of work can be effectively done remotely, including collaboration across multiple teams and people. So, going forward, I hope to see the number of meeting requests reduce, and the quality of collaboration improve when we are back in office.

Viral Diaries is a series of special interviews, a daily peek into how advertising, media and marketing professionals are dealing with working from home in these trying times.